Former winners of the International Hockey Lineal Championship played a large role in the NHL’s marquee Winter Classic event, as the Montréal Canadiens scored early and often to elevate them to a 5-1 thumping over their hated rivals, the Boston Bruins.
Played outdoors in front of over 65,000 people at at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, the Canadiens dominated play in the first two periods, with a solid performance in net from Mike Condon, and goals from David Desharnais, Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher. Boston struck back with an early third period goal from Matt Beleskey, but goals from Byron and captain (and IHLC winner) Max Pacioretty sealed the win for Montréal. Gallagher, Byron, Pacioretty and Tomáš Plekanec each finished the afternoon with two points.
A total of eleven former IHLC winners participated in the matchup, with Canada being the most represented with three players: P.K. Subban and Ben Scrivens with the Canadiens, and Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins. Two players suited up for Sweden (Loui Eriksson and Jonas Gustavsson for Boston) and the United States (Pacioretty and Jeff Petry of Montréal), with single players representing Czechia (Plekanec, Montréal), Finland (Tuukka Rask, Boston), Russia (Alexei Yemelin, Montréal) and Slovakia (Zdeno Chára, Boston).
Today’s matchup was the eighth edition of the outdoor New Year’s Day game, and the second time hosting for the Bruins (with the first being in 2010 at Fenway Park); the game was the Canadiens’ first time in the Classic. Montréal’s win marks just the second instance where a team has won by more than a single goal at the Winter Classic, the first being Detroit’s 6-4 victory over Chicago at the 2009 Classic at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
Links on IHLC winners names connect to latest winning IHLC contest featuring the respective player.